Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

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Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-19, 17:31

Hi All,

This is my first journal and I thought I would try and keep it simple so I am doing it on my 10 gallon low tech planted tank that I breed Apisto's in and experiment with various plants from my emersed plant bank.

It is a pretty basic 10 gallon set-up with 2X 10 watt 6500K screw-in CFL's (PAR=25), generic 50 watt heater, Aquaclear 20 HOB filter (with 2X sponges only), black plastic background, and Safe-T-Sorb #7941 substrate; no CO2.


8/4/13  Day 1
Washed the Safe-T-Sorb #7941 in a 5 gallon bucket doing about 1/2 of the total amount used per batch.  Thoroughly churned and rinsed the substrate 4 or 5 times per batch and it still came out looking like chocolate milk.

Day 1 pic
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8/7/13 Day 3
Added a piece of Malaysian driftwood hardscape that has a hollow cave like area that my Apisto's seem to like spawning in. Also added some plants including Limnophila aromatica 'Wavy', Pogostemon helferi (Downoi), Pogostemon erectus, Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Pygmy Chain Sword), Barclaya longifolia, Cuphea anagalloidea, Rotala sp 'Bengladesh', and Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Bronze'. The Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' came from one of my isolation containers; the Pogostemon helferi and Cupia anagalloidea came from my emersed plant bank; the rest were grown submersed and came from one of my other established tanks.  Yes, several of the species listed above would typically be found in a 'high tech' tank with much more light and CO2 but I wanted to see what I could do with 'low tech'.

Day 3 pic
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8/9/13 Day 5
The water is starting to show signs of clearing.  I added four small Corydoras habrosus; one Otocinclus affinis; and one Siamese algae eater, (Crossocheilus oblongus or syn. Crossocheilus siamensis).  Also started dosing fertilizers today.  I dose EI for 6 gallons on alternate days with Seachem Comprehensive.  I dose Excel strength glutaraldehyde all days.

Day 5 pic
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8/12/13 Day 8
The tank is staring to show definite signs of clearing.  I did a 3 gallon water change today; rinsed the filter sponges in tank water, dosed dry ferts, dosed 1X Initial Dose Excel and added a little Equilibrium, MgSO4 (Epsom Salt), CaCl (calcium chloride/Dry-Z-Air), and NaHCO3 (baking soda) to bring up my dGH and dKH.

Here are some Day 8 pics
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-08, 11:12; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Aquarium Co-Op on 2013-08-20, 03:24

I'll be interested to see how the hellferi does for you. Is the helleri emrsed grown in the lab? Then planted here?

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-20, 09:04

Hi Cory,

Yes, it was grown emersed in the plant lab and planted directly into the non-CO2 tank.  I agree it will be interesting since most people say P. helferi has to have CO2 in order to flourish.  Obviously the streams in Thailand don't have CO2 injected but what they do have is an abundance of "minerals" based upon from what Christel Kasselmann and Karen Randall have said in the talks they have given at GSAS.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-20, 09:10

Hi All,

Still playing 'catch up' on this journal.  Here are some comments and pictures from the 14th.

8/14/13  Day 10
The water continues to clear, new leaves showing up on the Helanthium tenellum with a nice reddish color. Two of the plants that I added from my plant bank are starting to show new growth as well. The Cuphea anagalloidea that was added as cuttings from emersed growth is showing new leaves. The Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' was in one of my isolation containers that got warm and the stems lost most of their leaves leaving behind small, green, dormant 'buds'. Now that the Rotala is in cooler water with fertilizer in the water column it seems to be responding by sending out leaves again.

Day 10 pics
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Cuphea anagalloidea & Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' starting to show new growth
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-08-20, 09:20

These types of blogs are fun to follow Roy. I like being able to come back after 6-12 months & see where it all started...

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-08-20, 11:21

I like those plants. Where can I get some and how much?

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-20, 23:49

@ Chad.....Hi Chad, I have kept journals before but never publically; it would help if I could remember that spelling counts! lol

@ SiRWesDragon, I usually bring my surplus plants to the GSAS meetings. At the end of most meetings there is a one hour auction where GSAS members can sell their surplus plants, fish, and used equipment. Sometimes some pretty rare fish and plants go really cheap. If you are looking for something in particular let me know and I will see what I can do.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-21, 17:28

8/16/13 Day 12

Here are a couple of new pictures; please note I added some Eleocharis sp (tall hairgrass) in the right rear.  The Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' continues to add new growth.

Add Eleocharis on right rear
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New growth on Rotala continues
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-23, 15:00

Hi All,

8/18/13 Day 14

It has been two weeks since I started this tank and the 10 gallon continues to mature.  I am definitely seeing new growth on the Cupia anagalloidea and the Rotala 'Bangladesh'.  Now several of the 'buds' are starting to grow along with the one or two at the top of the stems.  I am including a photo of what the stems looked like when they were more or less dormant in my warm garage isolation container and a photo showing the Rotala 'bud' locations showing the new growth.

8/18/13 10 gallon low tech
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Rotala 'Bangladesh' mostly dormant buds
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Rotala 'Bangladesh' buds showing new growth
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-08-23, 18:34

Spot On very nice!

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  cichlid-gal on 2013-08-24, 09:53

Roy...thank you for sharing your project and journey with us. I still have yet to set up a planted tank and I am excited to be able to see a planted tank from the beginning along with how it was set up and what is working and what is not. From you shares it looks like things are going well with the plants so far.

Being new to all of this would it be ok for me to ask some additional questions (newbie questions?)?

You stated on Day 5 "Also started dosing fertilizers today. I dose EI for 6 gallons on alternate days with Seachem Comprehensive. I dose Excel strength glutaraldehyde all days". What is EI and what is glutaraldehyde?

You stated on Day 8"dosed dry ferts, dosed 1X Initial Dose Excel and added a little Equilibrium, MgSO4 (Epsom Salt), CaCl (calcium chloride/Dry-Z-Air), and NaHCO3 (baking soda) to bring up my dGH and dKH". So you fertilize with both tablets and Excel? What is Equilibrium and Dry-z-air? I understand the epsom and baking soda I think.

Also how long do you run your lights Roy? What are your water parameters at currently and what are you trying to attain with them?
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-24, 11:06

Hi All,

@Chad, thanks Chad!  It's just a small experimental tank so see what could be accomplished without going 'high tech' with CO2 and high output lighting.

@Cichlid-Gal, sure no problem.  

You stated on Day 5 "Also started dosing fertilizers today. I dose EI for 6 gallons on alternate days with Seachem Comprehensive. I dose Excel strength glutaraldehyde all days". What is EI and what is glutaraldehyde?
"EI" is an abbreviation for 'Estimative Index' which is one of several suggested regimens for adding nutrients to planted aquarium.  Here is a link to a thread on one of the planted aquarium forums about it:
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Excel is a product developed by Seachem that adds carbon molecules to the water.  Along with the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micro-nutrients that we add as fertilizers the other building block for plant growth is carbon molecules.  Although all tanks have some carbon molecules available to improve growth in a planted tank; we typically supplement carbon availability either with CO2 gas or a liquid supplement like Excel.  Glutaraldehyde is the active ingredient in Excel.

You stated on Day 8"dosed dry ferts, dosed 1X Initial Dose Excel and added a little Equilibrium, MgSO4 (Epsom Salt), CaCl (calcium chloride/Dry-Z-Air), and NaHCO3 (baking soda) to bring up my dGH and dKH". So you fertilize with both tablets and Excel? What is Equilibrium and Dry-z-air? I understand the epsom and baking soda I think.
Once you read about EI dosing it should become more clear.  I fertilize with dry powders for nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.  Since my water is extremely soft and lacks some of the essential minerals plants need for growth I add Seachem Equilibrium, MgSO4, and CaCl to raise the general hardness (dGH) of my water and NaHCO3 to raise the carbonate hardness (dKH) of my water.  Where you live you may have sufficient minerals in your water already.  The chemical CaCl (calcium chloride) can be difficult to find even online however Dry-Z-Air which is used as a dehumidifier is 91% CaCl.  Also it is inexpensive.  Seachem Equilibrium is a powder that is used to increase the dGH of aquariums.

Also how long do you run your lights Roy? What are your water parameters at currently and what are you trying to attain with them?
I run the lights on this tank 8 hours a day with a split photoperiod; 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening.

My current water parameters are:  PH = 6.4; dKH = 1.0; dGH = 7.0  I am starting to try to increase the dKH & dGH for this tank above where I normally keep a planted tank for the Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) since that plant species likes water with higher mineral content.

All good questions, thanks for asking Cichlid-Gal!
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  cichlid-gal on 2013-08-24, 12:05

Thanks Roy for all the information....I'll be following along and learning all the while I'm sure!!!
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-08-28, 00:25

Hi All,

8/20/13 Day 16

It's been about two weeks since the initial set up and all the plants are doing well including the emersed grown Cuphea anagalloidea and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh'.  I added a Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' in the right rear behind to Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Bronze' to help the Crypt stand out a little more.

The only plant that is showing some signs of distress is the Pogostemon helferi (Downoi).  I don't know if it is due to the extremely soft water I have here or the fact that the plants were grown emersed.  If it is 'shock' from transitioning from emersed to submersed growth this is the first species I have had that has suffered.  Granted the tank does not have CO2 but I checked the water parameters and I have PH = 6.4; dKH = 1.0; dGH = 7.0 so it could be the carbonate level that is causing the problem.  I do see new leaves forming but the older leaves are showing signs of distress.

10 gallon low tech at 2 weeks
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Cuphea anagalloidea and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' continue to grow well without CO2 (note height of Eleocharis, it seems to showing signs of growth)
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The Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Pygmy Chain Sword) is definitely showing new growth; note the reddish coloration
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The Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) have definitely lost some of their older leaves
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-08-28, 00:31

Seattle_Aquarist wrote:The Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) have definitely lost some of their older leaves
I hoping they were going to thrive. I like the way they look.

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-06, 01:05

Hi All,

8/27/13 Day 23

It's been about three weeks since the initial set up and all the plants  are continuing to do well.  The emersed grown Cuphea anagalloidea and  Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' are growing nicely and I think I see a side shoot starting on the C. anagalloidea.   I am seeing signs of new growth on the Eleocharis (tall hairgrass).

I think I am most excited about the Pogostemon helferi (Downoi)....they seem to have stopped the 'melting' that occurred for the first two weeks.  I am losing only the occasional leaf now and there seems to be a flush of new leaves in the crown area.  Hopefully in the next few weeks I will see some signs of recovery.  

10 gallon low tech at 3 weeks
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Note the additional growth of the R. 'Bengladesh' and the Pogostemon erectus compared to the prior week
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  twoohsix on 2013-09-12, 21:43

tanks coming along nicely

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-16, 22:35

Hi All,

9/10/13 Day 37

It's been two weeks since the last update and the tank has been set-up for about 6 weeks.  As you can see the Pogostemon erectus and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' are growing well approaching the surface.  In fact, I trimmed the leafless lower portions of the Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' stems and replanted them and they didn't slow down a bit.  The Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) seem to have stopped losing their emersed grown leaves and I am seeing side shoots starting to come off of the base of the plants.  The Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Pygmy Chain Sword) is starting to send out runners as well.  The Cryptocorynes have new leaves and I am trimming 4 new, taller leaves off of the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' every week.  The Eleocharis (tall hairgrass) is growing taller and I am starting to see runners off of it as well.

10 gallon low tech at 6 weeks
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Pogostemon helferi showing side growth (remember no CO2)
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  nick_76 on 2013-09-17, 00:44

pretty sweet tank...its always nice to be able to look at before and after pics and see how fast a planted tank comes along...also you tend to get so used to it looking full it can be hard to believe the tank was once just an empty glass box on a shelf somewhere
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-17, 16:12

Hi nick_76,

This is my first journal and I can already see where it will certainly help me evaluate various plant species and how they do in low tech tanks.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  LuminousAphid on 2013-09-17, 21:59

Looking good, things are really starting to fill in! Is the stem plant on the left some kind of Moneywort? I got some stuff that looks really similar to that from Cory, but I'm still unsure what mine is. I really like those little lettuce-looking guys, do they stay small like that or do they eventually get bigger?

I think I also got same P. erectus from Cory, but those didn't do well at all in my setup, the lower leaves kept turning brown and falling off, while the top leaves just kept getting algae all over them. This could also be that my tank wasn't fully established yet, and also I didn't know what I was doing.

I'm really surprised that you didn't have any crypt melt, were those grown emersed as well? I had my crypt 'red' melt almost completely when I first got it
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-17, 22:28

Hi LuminousAphid,

The stem plant on the left (in the rear) is a Limnophila species I have not seen fully defined. You will find it listed on the plant forums as Limnophila sp 'Wavy' or Limnophila aromatica or in the Asian market as Ra Om! LOL

The plant on the right far right with the roundish leaves is Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan'.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  LuminousAphid on 2013-09-18, 17:11

Seattle_Aquarist wrote:
Rotala 'Bangladesh' mostly dormant buds
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I was meaning the ones on the left in this picture, in the back. With the little round/ovoid leaves coming off the stem. I have something that looks like that, but don't know what it is.

I looked back through your post and it seems it's "Cuphea anagalloidea" I was wondering about. The stuff I have is starting to turn a little red on the top leaves, could this be what I have? I will get a pic next time I have the camera out.

Either way, your tank looks fantastic! Sorry to de-rail the thread
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-09-18, 18:02

Seattle_Aquarist wrote:
Rotala 'Bangladesh' buds showing new growth
Hey roy. These plants you gave me from emersed state to submerged state, are starting to look this. But seeing some growth. Cant wait to see them like yours and spread (me propagating them). Thanks again, roy.

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Anthony J. on 2013-09-20, 00:06

Very nice Roy, I may have to try that pygmy chain in my low tech. If you do not mind me asking, where is a good place to buy plants that do not gave snails? Every planted tank I have done, aside from the newest one in my avatar, has ended up with snails, and as I try new plants, I would love to avoid them. I wish I could just get 1or2 stems of 20 species, and just see what does well in my tank and go from there.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-09-20, 00:19

Anthony J. If you buy a few assassin snails or pea puffers it will take care the snail problem. Pea puffers dont mess with large snails like mystery snails or nerite snails but assasins will.

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Anthony J. on 2013-09-20, 00:26

I would just prefer to not get any, I have had both assassin snails and pea puffers, but again I would rather avoid them all together.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-09-20, 00:29

@SirWesDragon, give it some time and they should respond well!

@Anthony J. +1 for SirWesDragon's comments or buy plants from individuals that don't have snails; there are a couple of GSAS members with snail-free tanks. When I receive plants from an 'unknown' source I soak the plants in a solution of 1 quart of water with 6 drops of Seachem Cupramine. This kills all of the adult and baby snails; I leave the plants in the solution (under lights) for about 3 weeks (depending upon temperature) to make sure any snail eggs have hatched and the baby snails have died. If I see any snails moving I treat again and wait a couple more weeks.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Anthony J. on 2013-09-20, 01:00

Thanks Roy, I will look into the product. I am soon to try some crypts, but was afraid if I treated with anything, the crypts would melt. Have you tried this with them? I just know they are extremely sensitive when not established.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-10-06, 19:16

Hi All,

10/3/13 Day 60

It's been a month since the last update and the tank has been set-up 9 weeks.  The Pogostemon erectus has grown to the surface and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' as grown to the top once, been trimmed and the tops re-planted and are again up to the surface.  The Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) are doing well, no longer losing leave and the side shoots are growing well.  The Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Pygmy Chain Sword) is spreading rapidly sending out runners throughout the tank; many of the plantlets are ready for thinning so I will probably bring some to the GSAS auction after the meeting on Tuesday.  I continue to trim multiple leaves off of the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' every week.  The Eleocharis (tall hairgrass) continues to grow, with larger crown areas and plantlets forming on the runners. The only plant that seems to be stagnant and not doing anything is the Cuphea anagalloidea. It's not dying but not really growing either. I will take water parameters this week on all my tanks and maybe it will give me a hint.

10 gallon low tech at 9 weeks
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Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) with sideshoots!
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Guest on 2013-10-06, 19:25

Looking great. Especially the plants Rotala sp 'Bengladesh and Pogostemon helferi are looking great. My Rotala sp 'Bengladesh you gave me is starting to look good and roots are coming out of the sides to cut and replant. Spot On 

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Anthony J. on 2013-10-06, 19:33

Looks awesome, thanks for the inspiration to step outside of the java, anubias low tech box.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-10-18, 09:27

@SiRWesDragon - Glad to hear that the plants you picked up are doing well!

@Anthony J. - Good for you breaking out of that rut; there are so many plants to try out there!
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Seattle_Aquarist on 2013-10-18, 09:27

Hi All,

10/17/13 Day 74

I have trimmed and replanted the Rotala 'Bangladesh' in the center and the Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Pygmy Chain Sword) continues to send out more and more runners. The Pogostemon erectus in the left corner has reached the surface and it continues to grow denser at the base with more branching. What I really like is the P. erectus has not lost any lower leaves even in this low light environment.

10 gallon low tech at 11 weeks
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Anthony J. on 2013-11-18, 15:40

Looks so good Roy, don't know how I missed this update, and its a month old. I'm digging the P. Erectus. Im work8ng with rotala walichii right now, I really like this leaf shape. I cannot tell from the picture, does the erectus produce side shoots? Looking forward to the next update.
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Chiisai on 2013-11-18, 18:50

You said you fertilize with phosphorus. Do you experience algae plumes?
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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

Post  Chiisai on 2013-11-29, 00:14

Seattle_Aquarist can we get update on the tank? Very curious to see what it looks like now. Especailly curious to see the progress of the helferi. You didnt do any CO2 injection right?
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Chiisai
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Join date : 2013-11-15
Age : 34
Location : Graham

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Re: Roy's Low Tech Planted 10 Gallon Journal

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